The Canada Vacation Guide for Couples: Places to Stay & Things to Do

From city lights to the Northern lights, this under-the-radar destination has everything you could ever want.
Couple wearing blanket in Canada
Photo: Image Source / Getty Images
james wong - the knot contributing writer and travel expert
by
James Wong
james wong - the knot contributing writer and travel expert
James Wong
Travel Writer & Expert
  • James Wong is a freelance travel writer and expert.
  • He's reported for publications including VOGUE, GQ, Time Out and Thrillist.
  • James has lived in London, Tokyo and New York; and has traveled to almost every corner of the world.
Updated Oct 27, 2023
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The second largest country in the world, a Canada vacation has a trove of tricks to unearth for couples seeking adventure. But despite its size, the 2023 population stands at under 39 million (by comparison, the US has nearly 332 million people). There's plenty of room to breathe here. You'll wander in solitude among British Columbia's verdant landscape, wildlife watch without the tourist buses circling around and, best of all, soak in world-famous attractions at your own pace. Even at Niagara Falls, there are corners of seclusion.

That's not to say it gets lonely: Heavyweight cities like Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver have just the entertainment, food and culture to keep city dwellers occupied, and it's at these you'll want to begin or end your trip yo Canada as you dot along all the best places to visit. Toronto is an easy 1.5-hour flight from New York City, and Vancouver is just one hour from Seattle. Ready to shake those loonies and toonies? Here's everything you need to know before embarking on a honeymoon, anniversary trip or couples retreat in Canada.

Canada Travel Trips in this Article:

    The Best Time to Travel to Canada

    Boating in Lake Ontario, Toronto, Canada
    Photo: Istvan Kadar Photography / Getty Images

    The best time to visit Canada for good weather is on the shoulder of the summer months, so May/June and September/October. Montreal is big on festivals in June and July when events like Festival International de Jazz de Montréal take place, but avoid August as it gets uncomfortably hot and humid. Meanwhile, Vancouver Pride happens at the peak of their hot season every August, but thankfully, it's not too humid.

    Winters are brutal—in Toronto, it regularly falls below zero. Over on the West Coast, Vancouver's rainfall is similar to that of our rainy city, Seattle. Springtime is best across the board for skiing, especially if you do it in Whistler.

    Canada Travel Tips

    Woman looks at the scoreboard at the airport
    Photo: nemchinowa / Getty Images

    Canada's big cities are dotted along the border and are all easy to access from the US. You will need a passport or a NEXUS card to enter Canada. $1 is equal to around 1.37 Canadian dollars. English and French are the country's official languages, but outside of Quebec, most people just speak English.

    Is Canada Good for a Romantic Getaway?

    Couple taking a walk in Canada
    Photo: Fly View Productions / Getty Images

    Pros of a Canada Vacation

    Located just north of the US border, Canada is within easy reach and is affordable for US travelers. You can even take a bus from Portland, Seattle and Bellingham, Washington, up to Vancouver. The USD to CAD exchange rate has always favored the US, and that only adds to the affordability of travel. Canada is a relatively safe and liberal country, and most of its citizens are friendly and welcoming to all.

    Cons of a Canada Vacation

    Canada is huge and spread out, so traveling between cities and points of interest can be quite the journey. The ice, snow and flooding can mean your trip is disrupted, especially if you're heading to national parks or remote locations. In the cities, the harsh weather also results in construction work, and often your desired sights are covered in scaffolding.

    Places to Visit in Canada

    Aerial view of Montreal, Canada
    Photo: Firefighter Montreal / Shutterstock

    Here are the best places to include on your Canadian travel itinerary for a mix of city and outdoor life.

    Toronto

    The largest city in Canada, this East Coast destination is packed with entertainment and international gastronomy. It's one of the most multicultural cities in the world. The skyline icon is the CN Tower, and excursions to Niagara Falls depart from Toronto.

    Vancouver

    Vancouver blends big city life with natural landscapes like Grouse Mountain and Stanley Park. It serves as an excellent base if you want to go rock climbing in Squamish or skiing in Whistler.

    Banff

    Banff is Canada's outdoor postcard. The resort town in Alberta is home to the country's first national park and is part of the Rocky Mountain Parks UNESCO World Heritage Site. Banff is also where elk and grizzly bears roam free.

    Montreal

    Montreal feels like a slice of Paris in Canada. There are romantic corners all over the city, from its Notre Dame Basilica (where Celine Dion got married, no less) to historic Old Montreal (Vieux-Montréal).

    The Best Canada Hotels and Resorts

    Inside room at The St. Regis Toronto
    Photo: The St. Regis Toronto

    Check into the most luxurious stays for a couples retreat, whether your preferred scenery is mountains or skyscrapers.

    The Ritz-Carlton Montreal, Montreal

    If the architecture in Montreal is your fairy-tale setting, then The Ritz-Carlton is your dream castle. This AAA Five-Diamond hotel opened back in 1912, balancing historical structures with modern amenities. The European-style retreat has a beautiful fine-dining restaurant, a Dom Pérignon Champagne Bar and afternoon tea. It's also a landmark venue for wedding ceremonies.

    1228 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, Quebec, H3G 1H6

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    The St. Regis Toronto, Toronto

    Situated 65 stories high, The St. Regis is in prime position for exploration—it's located just steps from the CN Tower, Rogers Center and the Scotiabank Arena. Nearly 300 rooms and suites are among the city's largest, and butler service is available for guests in select suites. Don't miss the spa, where almost all of the treatments can be tailored for couples, and keep a lookout for seasonal celebration packages.

    325 Bay Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5H 4G3

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Shangri-La Vancouver, Vancouver

    With a thriving Asian community along the West Coast, the Shangri-La Vancouver is a firm local favorite and one of the city's most glamorous destinations. Nestled between the mountains and the sea, this hotel occupies the top 15 floors of downtown's tallest building. Take in those views together from your own private balcony, or join the action downstairs at BC-infused Italian restaurant, Carlino.

    1128 W Georgia Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, V6E 0A8

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Fairmont Banff Springs, Banff

    Built in 1888, this Fairmont is modeled after a Scottish Baronial castle, and is today a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The hotel is as much a part of the postcard pictures as the views its guests enjoy from it. Located in Banff National Park, there are multiple hotel restaurants, boutiques, a 27-hole championship golf course in the summer, skiing facilities in winter, and an award-winning spa to soothe those muscles after a day out in Canada's famed outdoors.

    405 Spray Avenue, Banff, Alberta, T1L 1J4

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Things to Do in Canada

    Tourists on a boat viewing Niagra Falls
    Photo: rawfile redux / Getty Images

    For couples seeking the best tourist attractions and excursions, plus the most romantic restaurants, here are the best things to do when traveling through Canada.

    Break a Sweat at Banff National Park

    It's hard to beat the vistas in Banff National Park—it's so stunning that the tourism department's got Lake Louise plastered all over their promotional materials. Get your cherished snaps with a Flytographer, then go deep into the park's magical forests and cliffside trails with a hike and a picnic. Those who arrive during winter can switch boots for skis—Banff offers outdoor activity year round.

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Sail Into Niagara Falls

    The majestic Niagara Falls is a bucket list sight for many Americans, and it's on the Canadian side that you'll witness her best angles. Viator's best of Niagara Falls tour takes a small group of guests by boat right into and behind the racing cascades. After that, there's plenty more to do in town, including shopping, dining and taking in the falls at a distance on the Skylon Tower Observation Deck (included with your package).

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Ski and Spa in Whistler

    Canada's never short of snow, and the country's premier ski destination can be found in Whistler. Frequented by David and Victoria Beckham, you and your winter bunny will take your pizza slice moves over acres and acres of slopes. To wind down, hit the pedestrian-only Whistler Village to après-ski, and soothe the chill away at one of the ten best-rated local spas on Tripadvisor.

    4.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Watch Cirque du Soleil in Its Birth Province

    Did you know that the internationally acclaimed circus arts show, Cirque du Soleil, was first performed at Baie-Saint-Paul, a small town near Québec City? Today, neighboring Montreal plays host to the spectacle, with recent hits such as Alegria, KOOZA and CRYSTAL. Snag the hottest ticket in town, and immerse yourselves in storytelling via acrobatics and fire dancing.

    3.5 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Take an Asian Food Tour

    Though downtown Vancouver has a Chinatown, locals all know that the suburb of Richmond is where to get authentic Asian food. In fact, it's widely heralded as the best place to get Chinese food outside of Asia. If you're down for copious amounts of dim sum, pastries, wontons and bubble tea, let a seasonal Vancouverite be your expert guide and steer you to more adventurous flavors.

    5.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    Enjoy a Romantic Dinner on the CN Tower

    Sure, it's touristy, but what's wrong with that when you're… a tourist? The CN Tower's aptly named 360 Restaurant is a glorious dining destination, serving Canadian dishes from coast to coast, and it has the world's highest wine cellar. If you're feeling brave before (and want to really earn that meal), the EdgeWalk gives visitors a chance to take a hands-free walk atop the 1,815-foot structure.

    4.0 Star Rating | Read Reviews

    What to Pack for a Canada Vacation

    Open suitcase packed with winter clothes
    Photo: Carol Yepes / Getty Images

    Depending on the season, things can get very, very cold in Canada. Bring thermals, hats, gloves and hand warmers. Water-resistant boots are also advised if you're traveling beyond the big cities, and you'll definitely need an umbrella or rain jacket. Canadian and US outlets are the same, so there's no need to pack an adapter.

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